Innovation Edge, an impact-first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges in South Africa, has openned a financing call for early stage entrepreneurs and startups with innovative edtech ventures.
The impact-first investor is looking for startups supporting early learning for children under the age of 6 as a child’s participation in an early learning programme and their home environment influence their developmental level prior to entering school.
According to Nicole Biondi, Head of Marketing and Communications, Innovation Edge, “We may not have enough resources in our homes or in our early learning programmes; but what we do have in South Africa, is a high proliferation of mobile phones. Edtech solutions offer an unmissable opportunity to support parents and teachers in providing young children with critical early learning skills. The educational foundations built during the first 6 years of a child’s life determines the success of all future learning inputs. If we want children to thrive at school and beyond, we need to be doing our utmost to make sure their ability to learn is being built right from the start of life.”
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When it comes to early learning programmes or preschool centres; learning materials are the brick and mortar of a teacher’s lesson. Evidence shows that what benefits children the most in early learning environments is positive teacher-child interactions and stimulating content, which facilitates these interactions. In South Africa, there is a problem with both the quantity and quality of materials.
A 2020 study found that over half of all parents interviewed had between one and five children’s books in their home, while 40% said that they have none. Statistics South Africa’s General Household Survey provides similarly concerning results: 35% of respondents reported that they never told stories to their young children and 47% never read books to them.
Innovation Edge wants to fund and support edtech ventures that will help parents and/or teachers give children solid early learning foundations. Their call for applications from entrepreneurs or startups with innovative edtech ventures was launched on 1 October and runs until 31 October.
Selected applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee. Successful ventures will receive up to R1.3 million each in grant funding, strategic coaching, customised operational support and connections to social capital. The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2021.